The Vikings' two biggest free-agent signings since the league year opened on Wednesday were linebacker Jordan Hicks and defensive tackle Harrison Phillips. They were introduced in a news conference on Thursday. Here's what you need to know about two of the newest Vikings:
Position: Inside linebacker
Drafted: Third round (84th overall) in 2015
Age: 29, turns 30 in June
NFL credentials: Hicks overcame an injury-marred start to his NFL career in Philadelphia, where he was drafted, and has since started 51 consecutive regular-season games. He missed the end of the Eagles' Super Bowl run in 2017 due to a torn Achilles' tendon. After 12 starts the following year, he signed a four-year, $36 million contract with the Cardinals. He was Arizona's leading tackler for two years before they drafted his replacement, Zaven Collins, in the draft. Hicks not only beat Collins for the starting job last year but was named a team captain. He was released this month in a cost-cutting move.
They said it: "Jordan Hicks did a great job [in 2021], especially under the circumstances he was in," Cardinals General Manager Steve Keim said this month at the NFL scouting combine. "Knew the defense inside and out. We benefited from that, because of the complexity of some of the things that we were doing. But moving forward, there's no doubt that we have to get those young kids more involved."
Position: Nose tackle
Hometown: Omaha, Neb.
Drafted: Third round (96th overall) in 2018
NFL credentials: Phillips has also dealt with injury hurdles, including a torn ACL in 2019. He also reportedly played through a torn posterior cruciate ligament in the same knee last season, when he put together his best statistical year in quarterback pressures and run stops, according to Pro Football Focus. Through his Playmakers Foundation, "Horrible Harry," as he's been known since grade school, also became an integral part of Buffalo's community. He was twice named the Bills' Walter Payton Man of the Year nominee in four seasons. He replaced Bills nose tackle Star Lotulelei, who was diagnosed with COVID-19, in the lineup and kept the job, starting the final eight games including both of Buffalo's playoff games.
They said it: "One of our leaders," Bills coach Sean McDermott said last season. "He carries a lot of respect on this football team because of the way he approaches his day-in and day-out routine."